Sweet and Spicy Corn and Bean Salad is flavorful, colorful, and easy to prepare! While its multiple textures and tastes delight your senses, a flood of nutrients satisfies your body. And it’s a complete protein, to boot!
You Complete (Protein) Me
Why should you care if your food forms a complete protein? Glad you asked! One of the most common concerns people have about eating a plant-based diet is how to get enough protein. Many people are not aware that vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, etc. are great sources of protein.
A complete protein is made up of 20 amino acids (recently though, scientists are saying they have discovered a 21st). The amino acid profile (which specific amino acids are in that food) differs from food to food, but the important part is that we get a good balance of them all so that the body’s cells can re-use them to make new complete proteins.
What Are Essential Amino Acids?
Nine of the 20 amino acids are called essential amino acids. This means that they are necessary to form a complete protein but they cannot be manufactured by the body, so you must get them from the food you eat. Meat, for example, is a complete protein (meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids), but so are quinoa, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds, to name a few.
Some foods are sources of protein but lack all 9 essential amino acids, so they are not a complete protein. Most dietitians say that a reasonable goal is to eat complementary proteins over the course of a 24-hour period. For example, legumes combined with a grain like corn or rice form a complete usable protein for the body because they work together as a team and each provide the essential amino acids that the other is lacking.
Totally cool, right?! You can get some of your daily complete protein requirement just by eating this salad. Wait, come on, was that drool? Were you sleeping? This is exciting stuff!
A Year-round Colorful Delight
Another perk to this salad is how easy you can find the ingredients in your market during the colder months when a plentiful variety of fresh produce is not readily available.
So the deal is this: Nutritionally speaking this salad could be a one-stop-shop for dinner. But because it has both sweet and spicy components, it would also be a great accompaniment to a large variety of meals. Throw it together in 20 minutes and you are good to go!
Sweet and Spicy Corn and Bean Salad
Confession time! I was snackin’ on the salad while I was writing this post. Let’s just say, I have eaten it . . . many days in row. I pushed it to the back of the refrigerator where no one could find it — is that bad? Enjoy!!